MOSCOW. (Natalia Sviridova, RIA Novosti)

* The exhibition, Admiring Picasso, displaying the works of the great Spaniard and the artists who devoted their works to him has opened in the State Central Museum of Russia's Modern History. "The exhibition centres around Pablo Picasso's works, who became the symbol of the 20th century art already during his life. The museum displays 40 engravings, from the illustrations to Balsac's Chef-d'oeuvre Inconnu (Unknown Masterpiece - 1927) to pages devoted to Artist and Model (1960s)," said a spokesman for the museum. In his words, "etchings, lithography and linoleum engravings of Picasso, presented at the exhibition are undoubtedly his best works, most of which the Russian viewers will see for the first time."

The exposition also features the works of 69 major modern painters, graphic artists and sculptors from the collection of the German Kunstgalerien Bottingerhaus Bamberg. All these works were created in honour of Picasso, in gratitude to the master. "The striking kaleidoscope of the presented works includes European and American abstractionists Hans Hartung, Emil Schumaher, Robert Motherwell, Cy Twombly; members of the Cobra group - Pierre Alechinsky, Corneille, Alberto Burri; the leading representatives of the American and British pop-art Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Andy Warhall, David Hockney, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle; participants of the neo-realism movement in France Arman, Christo, Maria and others," said the spokesman for the museum. In his words, the exhibition is designed "as sort of a plasticity dialogue between Picasso and his junior colleagues and students."

* The new film, Sara basn. Kiedy slonce bylo bogiem (The Old Tale), to be presented by its author - the internationally recognised outstanding master Jerzy Hoffman, has opened the Panorama of Modern Polish Films in Moscow. On April 2-11, the most prominent works of the past few years are being shown in the Cinema House (Dom Kino). These works were produced both by famous directors, for example Pan Tadeusz and The Revenge by Andrzej Wajda, and representatives of the new generation. Muscovites will also see the retrospective Young Cinematographers About Polish Reality. The films included in it will present new names in the modern cinematography of Poland to the Moscow viewers. Moreover, the panorama will include the retrospective of Poland's famous documentary director Marcel Lozinski and a roundtable of Polish and Russian cinematographers, With a Camera in the Name of Truth and Honour. The festival is organised by the Russian Ministry of Culture and Mass Communications, the Polish Ministry of Culture, Warsaw's National Film Library and the Polish Television.

* Mister Veliky Novgorod is the name of an exhibition that will open on April 9 in the branch of the State Museum of History - the Assumption Cathedral of the Moscow Kremlin (St. Basil's Cathedral). It will display works of the decorative and applied art and icons from the churches of Novgorod (a regional centre in the north-western federal district), said sources in the administration of the Novgorod state united museum-reserve, which is organising this exhibition together with the State Museum of History. The Novgorod exhibition consists of 46 objects of the 17th-19th centuries from the collections of the most famous Novgorod churches - the St. George Cathedral, the Khutyn Church, St. Antony Cathedral, the Ion-Otinsky cathedral, the Syrkov and Skovorodsky monasteries.

In 2002, the State Museum of History launched the project called Preserved by Russian Monasteries, which is aimed to show the capital and its guests the unique values of Russian regions. Since then, the museum has already presented the relics of the churches of Vladimir, Tula, Vologda, Pereslavl-Zalessky and other ancient Russian cities.

* The international festival, Benois de la Danse, will be held for the first time on April 27-28 in the Bolshoi Theatre of Russia. Earlier, Benois de la Danse was a ballet prize founded in 1991 by the International Union of Choreographic Figures headed by the famous Russian choreographer Yuri Grigorovich. This ballet Oscar has been awarded since 1992 for the most talented choreographic works of the past year. The prize is named after the celebrated international theatre figure Alexander Benois whose ideas have considerably influenced the development of the ballet. He was one of the instigators of the Russian Seasons (Les Saisons Russes) in the early 20th century. A young representative of the Benois family, French artist Igor Ustinov created the sculpture of the Benois de la Danse Prize in 1992.

In the past few years, the award has become one of the most prestigious ballet awards, and the awarding ceremony was usually timed to coincide with International Dance Day marked on April 29. This tradition will be observed this time too. The 12th awarding ceremony will be held on April 27 in the Bolshoi.

However, it will not be confined to awarding the prize alone this time. As Director General of the Benois Centre Regina Nikiforova has said at a press conference in Moscow, "in the 12 years, the prize has developed so much that now it needs to be further extended beyond the usual limits. The Culture Ministry has sensed this readiness for growth and suggested that we transform the awarding ceremony into a festival - Benois de la Danse. On the sidelines of the festival, two concerts will be held in the Bolshoi.

On April 27 winners of the prize will give a gala concert, and then ballet stars - winners and students of the previous awards -- will perform onstage a day later.

As for the jury of the contest, it includes representatives from all over the world who are changed every year.

* By summer 2005, when Kaliningrad (former Konigsberg) will be marking its 750th birthday, the unique organ is to be restored in the Cathedral of the city.

The Russian Culture Ministry has already approved the tentative plan for the 4th international contest of organ players named after Mikael Tariverdiyev to be held in 2005. The administration of the region will spare no efforts to assemble the organ of the Cathedral Church by the contest," said Governor of the Kaliningrad Region Vladimir Yegorov. In his words, this issue has already been negotiated with Prime Minister of the Land of Brandenburg Dr. Herbert Knoblich who promised the support of the German side. The project will be implemented by the German company, Sauer.

"The question is the money - the construction of the organ will cost $2 million. Serious efforts will have to be made to find this money both in Russia and abroad," said Yegorov.

The Cathedral that was the central cult construction of the former Eastern Prussia was destroyed in August 1944 during the bombing of the British-American aviation. Its reconstruction began in 1992 and 80% of it have been restored. The restoration is partially financed by Germany via the Fulda Centre of Restoration and Crafts. In all, the restoration of the original shape of the Cathedral situated in central Kaliningrad has already cost over $6 million. About 80% of this sum was allocated by Russia. By now, the Kant, the Cathedral Restoration and the Kneiphoff Island museums have been opened in the Cathedral. An Orthodox and Catholic Chapels, and a small organ hall are operating there. "But the most acute issue is the restoration of the big cathedral organ that was destroyed during WWII," said Mr. Yegorov. The Koenigsberg Cathedral was founded in 1333 in the north German Gothic style. The altar section was meant for the burial of prominent figures of the city. In 1588 the "professor crypt" was erected at the external side of the northern nave of the Cathedral. Outstanding philosopher Immanuil Kant was buried there in 1804.

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